I’m starting a new series on my blog about how bipolar symptoms feel, with each blog in the series focusing on an individual symptom. Today I want to talk about fatigue and how it really feels.
Fatigue is not simply ‘feeling a bit tired’, it’s complete and total exhaustion in every cell of your body. It’s as though all of the energy has been sapped out of you, body mind and soul. For those who haven’t experienced it, this is how I would describe fatigue:
You’ve been at work all day. You didn’t sleep much the night before. You’re at the end of a long shift, and after work you’ve had to do some chores (housework, visiting family, whatever it may be). You finally get to sit down at the end of the night and you feel completely drained. You can barely keep your eyes open. Your body feels heavy. You can’t focus on any one thing. You know you need to go to bed because you have to sleep, you can’t possibly stay awake any longer.
Now imagine that’s how you wake up every day, even if you’ve slept well. You only get more fatigued from there with every action you try to take. Imagine that’s what you have to function through. You constantly feel that when you’re fatigued. Yet you have to try and get up and go to work, to do the daily tasks, to talk to other people, to get through life. That’s how fatigue feels.
Fatigue varies for everybody, and it even varies within one person. For example, I can have good days where I feel full of energy, and other days when my fatigue weighs me down an incredible amount that makes it nearly impossible to function. Some days, I literally can’t get out of bed. Fatigue comes with many conditions, not just bipolar disorder. It can come with both physical and mental illness, and can be extremely debilitating. I have fatigue from my bipolar disorder, as a side effect of the medications I take for my bipolar, and as a symptom of fibromyalgia, which is a chronic illness I also suffer with.
It’s really tough to try and keep functioning through fatigue, especially when you’re dealing with that alongside other symptoms. I manage to work full time, but I do so from home. If I had to get up, get dressed and go out to work, working set hours and interacting with others throughout the day, I don’t think I could cope with that physically or mentally.
If you struggle with fatigue please know that you are not alone. Know that you are a damn warrior. I see you. I know how hard it is. You are doing absolutely amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently, not even your own mind. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves, but you are living your life with something that is debilitating, and you’re coping! I think you are amazing.